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Drought not gone, but has loosened its grip on Minnesota

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While the Red River Valley is bracing for the possibility of record floods, this month's wet weather is helping the bulk of Minnesota pull out of an extreme drought.

A new report from the U.S. Drought Monitor says two-thirds of Minnesota is in a drought. That's down from 98 percent. Also, the proportion of the state where the drought is considered severe has shrunk from two-thirds down to 21 percent.

One of the climatologists with the federal agency says Minnesota has been on a steady but slow recovery path since the drought peaked last fall, adding "This is exactly what we needed."

The stubbornness of the drought has generated problems for a number of industries in Minnesota.

Right now, though, it's the looming floods that have the northwestern part of the state on high alert. Forecasters expect the Red River of the North to begin flooding at Fargo-Moorhead next week and say it may surpass its record high-water mark by the time it crests the following week.

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